Normal organ donation efforts are failing.  However admirable they are, or however hard we all work, the gap between registered donors and the people who need transplants is growing wider each year.  Short of scrapping UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) and the 1984 National Organ Transplantation Act ( which would take years of political bickering and result in little if any progress, I suggest we think big — really BIG!    OK, here is where Bob sticks his neck out; following is my dream — my 50,000 foot strategic view.  It only lacks the planning and tactical work J. 


I propose that America hold a week-long party in the next five years to celebrate organ donation and transplantation with the goal of narrowing or eliminating the gap between organ and tissue donors and those who need transplants.  Held in each state with a closing spectacular event in the nation’s capitol, we could honor transplant recipients, donors and their families as special guests.  I propose, too that we should initiate a parallel effort to work with UNOS/OPTN (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network) to effect policy changes.


Will this be expensive?  Yes.  A lot of work?”  Yes again.  But who is to say it cannot be done.  Think of the benefits. If we have enough tissue and organs, more people could benefit.  In the next ten years at least 100,000 more people will die on the transplant waiting list and there is no way of counting those who just die and never get on the list.  We can stop the dying!  I will volunteer my time and energy to help accomplish this goal.  Who wants to sign on with me and what will you do to help?


We need sponsors, organizers and so much more.  My dream envisions an event that includes nationally respected speakers, special events, entertainment, celebrities, national telethons, awards, patient and donor stories, special professional conferences (example; transplants for people who can’t afford them, how the media can help promote donation), workshops and, of course, international media coverage.  Can a real grass roots effort succeed in America?  Let us find out through this Giving and Living celebration.  This could be the most massive organ donation effort in history. 


I have given the preceding idea some thought, not enough obviously, but some.  I have consulted with no one, anywhere.  You, my reader friends, are the first to hear of it.  Please offer your ideas, your help and your comments.  I do not know if my dream can be realized but I know it will not be if I do not try.  I know this for sure, it must be a major nationwide effort that includes everyone in every community if we are to increase organ donation to the point where anyone who needs an organ can get one.


About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on April 21, 2008, in Giving and Living and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Paula Wood
    April 22,, 2008

    Let’s see if we can Oprah involved. It seems like anytime she promotes things millions get involved. She has done a couple of interviews with Steven Cojacoru,(he had 2 kidney transplants) on her show. George Lopez has had a kidney transplant.It seems to me the only way to get the awareness you are talking about is to get some BIG NAME People involved.People like Oprah and Brad Pitt got involved in the rebuilding after Katrina and have been successful in raising millions for that project.
    In my opinion it will take celebrities to draw the awareness that you are talking about.To me it doesn’t seem like anyone cares about anything until celebrities get involved, then it is cool for people to join the cause.


  2. Susan Mau Larson


    I love your idea and think it would be a lot of fun. Lee is correct that it is similar to the Transplant Games which will be in Pittsburgh this year. I think it also has a seed of a start in the Donate Life Month activities celebrated in April around the country. Your plan brings all of these efforts to another level by providing consistency in activities in each state and culminating in a national event. Let’s keep this idea in front of us and see how we can move it forward.



  3. This sounds a lot like the Transplant Games, but done across the country in every state instead of in one national location, like this year’s event in Pittsburgh. It may help get the issue front and center nationally, though.


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